When you take the first step towards the unknown, you are engulfed by the darkness of uncertainty. Co-existence is possible only in the face of the unrecognised. The unknown language is a tangled mass through which you penetrate with despair. It is a structure of sense and nonsense, an architecture of traps and a source of endless uncertainty. The story you tell contains a record of fear and hope.

Aneta Szylak and Hiwa K., fragment taken from "The Darkness Wounded" published at www.przemo-wojciechowski.com

Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.
Theodor Adorno

But we are meaning in the sense that we are the element in which significations can be produced and circulate.
Jean-Luc Nancy

The concept of Estrangement developed through a series of discussions and collaborative projects between Iraqi artist Hiwa K. and Polish curator Aneta Szylak as an attempt to create a form for mutual translation and collaborative work that is not restricted to one cultural format.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

To begin with

The project is planned to capture the tension between Western cultures and what was once constructed as the Orient. Triggered by unfulfilled desire, loss and estrangement, today’s fears, obsessions and denials produced by the discourse of politics and its economic background are both based on those cultural constructions and aimed to destroy them.

Targeting beyond strategies of representation, the project will investigate how those cultures mirror, mimic and reflect one another; how they produce fictions, fragmented comprehensions, readings and hybridist understandings and maybe even more misunderstandings. Europe and the Western world is not homogenous in cultural terms, but it insists its coherence when confronting its invented face of the mysterious thus undefined enemy. Nowadays, when the West seems to deny having anything culturally in common with this reinvented Other, Estrangement looks at it not as a stranger from whom we are drifted-apart by unfamiliarity, but as alter-ego divided from ourselves by the looking glass.

The project goes beyond political representations and focuses on emotions it produces. It is a state of mind not a state of things. Adaptations, merges, strategies of mimicry and the lost definitions, will appear in the project as a basis. It will look at the language of denial, false constructions, conspiracy theories, recuperations and definitions of appropriate and inappropriate “otherness”.

Instead of representing and resting on cultural presuppositions, the project is exploring the desired Other, without whom we do not exist. It is investigating curiosities, incompetences and poorly executed communications. It brings imperial conflicts to the level of human emotions and embodiments, it deals with being in each others shoes, learning and constructing the reader of the other though the prosthetic process of translation. It is also challenging the viewer and his or her opinions on “authenticity”, “origin”, “identity”, “representation”.